Guided Search

There are many ways to refine your search. Keep in mind that narrower searches can lead to more precise results, but they can also limit the potential for browsing and discovering related items. You will leave this website to perform an advanced search of the collection.

Click here to start your guided search


Tips for advanced searching

Hyperlinked terms
One useful strategy is to search using general terms related to your subject of interest, such as fishing. Then click on the hyperlinked author name, subject terms, or dates from the items retrieved to locate related items with those same terms.


Truncation uses the asterisk (*) to broaden searches and retrieve all variants of a root term. For example, searching for archit* will retrieve architecture, architecturalarchitectarchitrave, etc.

Truncation is often useful in name searches. For example, there are many variant spellings of names such as Hoffmann and Christianson. The use of Hof* in the name field will retrieve HofmanHoffmanHoffman, and Hoffmann, as well as Hofer, Hofmeister and many other names.

Date searching
Searching for complex dates is best done in Custom Search. A Basic Search for 1976-10-31 will retrieve 1976 and 10 and 31 anywhere in the records, not only in the Date field. Our search engine does not allow for range searching, e.g. 1890-1895. Instead, records for dates that fall between 1890 and 1895 must be retrieved through separate searches.

A note on full text searching

Our search engine searches only the descriptive information provided by contributing partners, including titles of books and manuscripts, names of photographers and authors, subject terms, dates, and locations.

That means you’re not able to search deeply into all of our content just by using the basic search boxes. To search the full text of books or other text materials, you’ll need to navigate to a specific item or collection and then run a second search within that item or collection. For example, if you’re looking for information about John Smith from Green County, you might enter Green County into the Place search box at the right. Choose the book History of Green County, Wisconsin from your search results and then search for Smith within the book to reach the specific pages where the name Smith is found.

Video tutorial: Searching Recollection Wisconsin

Tutorial transcript (pdf).